Rotherham United, Rotherham United boss lauds ‘magnificent’ players after Derby County victory

Rotherham United boss lauds ‘magnificent’ players after Derby County victory

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne lauded his “magnificent” players after their crucial victory at home to Derby County.

The Millers ran out 3-0 winners over their relegation rivals thanks to three goals in the final 15 minutes of the game.

Having had the best of the opportunities in a tense game, defender Michael Ikiewke struck to give them the lead.

And within 12 minutes it had become a rout, with Michael Smith and Ryan Giles adding their names to the scoresheet to complete a highly impressive win.

READ: Derby County’s Wayne Rooney blasts ‘disrespectful’ Rotherham United after defeat

While still in the relegation zone, Rotherham are now only two points from safety with two games in hand on the sides they are closest to catching.

Reflecting on the game, Warne told The72: “We didn’t start as well as I’d have liked, I think we showed them too much respect, so at half-time I asked the lads to play a bit quicker. I thought we finished the half really well, and then our subs had a positive effect.

“Then in the end we probably could have scored more. It was an edgy game, both teams were trying to win it. To come away with a clean sheet and to score three, we’re really pleased.

“The players have been magnificent, even in defeats they’ve literally given everything they can. Football changes on split-second decisions and bounces of the ball here and there.

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“Fortunately for us tonight the ball bounced kindly for us in the six-yard box and we took our chances. Saturday it could change completely but it does give our lads confidence. They’ve had three wins out of five.”

That record has brought 10 points from the first five league games of what has been impressive 2021 so far for his Rotherham side.

As well beating Derby by a single goal in the reverse at Pride Park, they have also seen off Middlesbrough by a 3-0 scoreline away from home.

They were also unlucky not to claim more from impressive efforts against both Stoke City – drawn 3-3 – and Swansea City in a 3-1 defeat, both at the New York Stadium.

READ: Derby County boss reacts to Rotherham United defeat that ‘no one could say was coming’

This home win over the Rams was worth waiting for having been twice postponed, firstly in December following a positive Covid-19 case in the Rotherham camp, and then on Tuesday night when a waterlogged pitch meant the contest was pushed back 24 hours.

Warne is not a fan of Wednesday night matches but insisted the game going ahead was the best scenario considering the fixture backlog they are already facing in the second half of the season.

“We wanted the game on last night but it was ridiculously unplayable,” he said. “I’ve been here for every Rotherham United game since the stadium was built and there’s never been surface water at any game.

“I was disappointed the game wasn’t on last night and you know what I’m like, I don’t like playing Wednesday, Saturday. There’s just not enough recovery time, so it wasn’t ideal, but… it was a no brainer to put the game on for tonight. It’s much better for us than having to put it back to April.”

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